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Overby leaving Sirti for startup

Thu., Dec. 23, 2010

He’ll become president, CEO of Flyback Energy

John Overby is leaving state agency Sirti to become president and CEO of a Spokane Valley tech startup.

Overby has worked as client services manager with numerous area firms in his 5  1/2 years at Sirti, the Spokane-based state agency that supports and coaches tech companies through consulting, business assistance and other services.

In the case of Flyback Energy, Overby liked what he saw enough to jump on board. He starts the job in early January, he said, and hopes to help produce the private company’s first energy-saving product later in the year.

The company was founded in 2003 when three engineers – brothers Paul and David Babcock and Phillip Smith – joined forces. The company says it’s developing ways to tap wasted electromagnetic energy – called “flyback” – that nearly all electrical circuits have.

The first product focus will be switches or plug components that will cut the wasted electrical energy in large box stores or warehouses, said Overby. The units to be developed can save 2 to 10 percent of the total energy of a system, he added.

Those devices also will offer dimming options for additional energy reduction.

He said the first markets for Flyback Energy will be indoor lighting, then outdoor lighting systems. “Those are the low-hanging fruit,” he said, adding that those are potentially “huge retrofit markets for us.”

Longer-term will be products geared to the outdoor power sources used by cell and wireless companies. Those systems convert AC power to DC and have been regarded as particularly inefficient, Overby said.

When the company starts producing those products, the plan is to rely on area manufacturing companies, Overby said.

Overby has already started two area tech startups, Advanced Input, in North Idaho; and Moscow-based Advanced Hardware Architecture. “I want to see my third one do better than those two,” he said.

He said Sirti will list his job opening and conduct a search to find a replacement.

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